BMW Group and Google top the list of an influential brand reputation survey which also sees B2B firms such as Intel make inroads.
The Global RepTrak, prepared annually by the Reputation Institute, scores the top 100 companies on seven reputation factors – innovation, performance, leadership, workplace environment, governance, corporate citizenship along with products and services – and creates an overall ranking. It was prepared based on feedback between January and February of 2015 from approximately 61,000 customers originating from 15 of the world’s largest economies.
This year’s rankings saw BMW leapfrog Google to take the number one position, an improvement from its third place ranking a year ago. The company was lauded in particular for exceptionally strong brand performance in Europe, Australia and Russia. Even so, the survey found room for BMW Group to grow in South Korea, Japan as well as emerging markets like Brazil and India.
Overall, no company scored over 80, considered an Excellent rating, and BMW’s aggregate score of 78.98 was enough to beat out Google which had an overall score of 78.26. At the opposite end of the spectrum, 100th ranked Anheuser-Busch InBev scored 65.36.
Within the Top 10 for 2015, LEGO had the best improvement vaulting to 5th from 9th in 2014. That came at the expense of Sony which dropped down to 9th following last year’s 5th place finish. Walt Disney Company also had a large drop in its reputation, tumbling to 6th place in 2015 after having finished tied for first with Google in 2014 and runner-up in 2013.
B2B giant Intel managed to place 10th in the global rankings for the first time, after having finished in 12th in 2014. Intel’s brand reputation was highest within the Asia Pacific region, placing seventh. Intel also scored favourably across all reputational factors, but as the study noted all of the ranked companies still struggle to reach consumers, with anywhere between 43 and 59 percent of respondents demonstrating uncertainty towards the companies’ operations.
That uncertainty indicated by respondents – which the survey refers to as fence-sitters – is considered crucial since such opinions are highly influenced by recent developments in a company’s performance, whether good or bad. Not surprisingly, the survey found respondents were more favourable when it comes to grading companies with a strong history of brand reputation, with household names such as Rolex and Apple all receiving favourable grades when it comes to that consideration.
The personality of a brand was also key, with the survey looking favourably on companies deemed “cool and exciting”. The survey also looked positively on certain brands with a reputation for arrogance or toughness, but generally that was seen as a mark against a higher ranking. Only two companies who placed within the top 10 of the rankings, Rolex and Daimler, finished with low scores when it comes to arrogance.
In North America, LEGO enjoyed the highest corporate reputation which the company’s CFO John Goodwin attributed to the success of the most recent film.
Rounding out the top three on the continent were Amazon.com and Kellogg’s. LEGO also placed second in Europe, while BMW Group, which also includes the Mini and Rolls Royce automobile brands, took top spot.
The survey which has been conducted by the Reputation Institute for the last five years saw the largest net increases since 2011 come from Samsung, Diageo and Toyota. The largest net reputation losses include the likes of Xerox, Coca-Cola and Du Pont, which has tumbled nearly five points since 2011 to 67.03 in 2015, still good enough for 88th in the overall rankings.
Overall the survey found consumers were more likely to rate a company highly if it generated high sales, received favourable media attention and produced goods or services which were deemed high-quality. Such companies would also earn the benefit of the doubt in the case of mild slip-ups, and were more likely to be recommended than companies with lower reputations.
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